Home sales across the Charlotte region are returning to pre-pandemic levels

Home sales across the Charlotte region are returning to pre-pandemic levels

Photo: Andy Weber/Axios

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Charlotte’s housing market today is starting to look like it did in 2019.

Why it matters: The data from 2019 gives us an idea of what’s normal for home sales in Charlotte, says Maren Brisson-Kuester, COO of Corcoran HM Properties. “It’s our baseline.”

It’s been a wild ride for the housing market these last couple of years. “COVID was a weird phenomenon in our industry,” Brisson-Kuester says.

  • Home sales nearly froze in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 lockdown.
  • Then in 2021, sales soared from a combination of low interest rates and remote work, which encouraged plenty of people to relocate to more affordable cities like Charlotte.

Driving the news: Data from 2022 shows we’re finally returning to a more balanced market — one reminiscent of pre-pandemic days, local real estate experts say.

By the numbers: 50,286 homes sold across the region last year, a declined of 15.3% year-over-year, according to data from Canopy MLS

  • 2022’s sales “were on par with sales at the end of 2019, which was a healthier year of sales,” per the report.
  • For all of 2019, there were 50,854 properties sold in the Charlotte region, according to Canopy data from January 2020.

What they’re saying: “2021 was an anomaly and not a healthy market,” says president of Canopy MLS Tiffany Johannes. “What we saw over most of last year and will continue to see, is a return to a somewhat healthier time and pace of activity.”

Plus, the slower pace of sales should help inventory to build to give buyers more options in the spring, Johannes adds.

Yes, but: Higher interest rates will still make owning a home challenging for many prospective buyers. What’s more, current homeowners who are locked into low rates may be unlikely to sell right now, as Axios’ Bri Crane has reported.

  • The average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage is 6.15%, per Bloomberg.

Zoom out: Many economists have warned of an incoming recession, pointing to the slowing of home sales as an indicator. But both Johannes and Brisson-Kuester agree: The housing market has the ability to help the economy bounce back, not further contribute to the recession.

  • Our outlook at this point shows that any recession would be mild and housing would play a key role in an economic rebound,” Johannes says.
  • “This is a recession for sure, but I don’t see us [the housing sector] doing anything but playing a key role in the rebound,” Brisson-Kuester says.

The bottom line: Given the roller coaster of a real estate market experienced since the pandemic, we’re still a ways out from a market perfectly healthy for both buyers and sellers. But, both the numbers and experts agree: We’re getting there, and a more typical spring market could be on the horizon for Charlotte.

[Related Axios story: Home sales are down in Charlotte but inventory is up, a sign that the housing market is balancing out]

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